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Buy Vegan from a Vegan with this Etsy Team

Sick On Sin

Considering how huge it is now — the site has over one million members and 800,000 active shops — it’s hard to believe that Etsy is only six years old. The site is a smorgasboard of goods, and that’s usually a great thing, but it can be a problem when you’re looking for something along a particular set of guidelines, like vegan items.

Some sellers are great at using tags to make it easy to find their cruelty-free goods, but others aren’t as consistent. And so many people are offering such great vegan stuff on the site that it’s helpful to have a spot where you can find it all, which is why I dig Vegan Etsy. If the site is new to you, read on for a Q&A with Vegan Etsy’s Melissa Bastian.

Q: How did Vegan Etsy begin?

A: The Vegan Etsy Team began in 2007 when a small group of Etsy sellers who were dedicated vegans wanted to have a way to connect and support each other.  The main goal of the team has always been twofold: to support each other as vegan artisans making vegan products, and also to provide Etsy shoppers with an easy way to purchase vegan goods from vegan sellers.


Q: How many sellers are a part of the team now?

A: Our membership is growing all the time, and fluctuates as people become wrapped up in other projects.  Our members are very active!  We’ve had members take leaves of absence for internships at Farm Sanctuary and other such endeavors.  At any given time, we tend to have between 70 and 90 sellers on the team, and many sellers have more than one shop.

Q: What is it about Etsy that works well for vegan sellers?

A: As I’m sure you know, Etsy is the most popular online handmade marketplace.  It provides a cheap and accessible platform for crafters who want to be able to make their wares available to a large audience.  With the “tags” system used by Etsy, the team can use its own tag, “veganetsy team”, to let shoppers quickly and easily find items made by our members.  Member profiles also give shoppers a chance to see what sellers have to say about their products and their ethics.  In this way, vegan shoppers can rest easy knowing that their products are absolutely vegan, and that they are supporting vegans when they shop.

Etsy is always evolving.  New features have recently been added to improve the customer experience, such as coupon codes that allow sellers to create special sales.  Etsy has also begun to provide tools for teams and individual members, such as individual teams pages and online seller “how to” classes at both beginner and advanced levels.

Q: What are the requirements for joining the Vegan Etsy team?

A: We maintain high vegan standards for team members.  The most important requirement is that all persons involved with a shop must be vegan, and that all items sold in a shop must be 100-percent vegan.  This of course means no animal products or by-products whatsoever can be used, including honey, beeswax, shell, silk, upcycled / vintage leather, and so on.  This requirement extends not only to items sold in a member’s shop, but also to that person’s favorites, any treasuries created, and anything sold outside of Etsy as well — whether on another similar website, a personal web store, or in a brick-and-mortar store.

We want shoppers to be 100-percent confident that when they purchase from Vegan Etsy Team shops, they are purchasing items from dedicated vegans, and that the items they receive will be completely vegan.  Thus our motto: buy vegan from vegans!

Monkey and Squirrel

Q: Are there any particular product types that are especially popular on the Vegan Etsy team?

A: As is the trend on most of Etsy, we do see a lot of jewelery makers.  We don’t consider this a problem — it’s all gorgeous!  And much of it promotes a vegan message.  But make no mistake, we have sellers who make pretty much everything you can think of, from journals and calendars to candy and baked goods to reusable produce bags.  As in any other market, whether a seller’s items become popular has everything to do with quality, the care put into the seller’s shop, and how well a seller promotes her/himself.  We try to give our sellers as many promotional opportunities as possible through the team, with features on the team blog, group donation events, and the like.

Q: How about sellers and products you’d love to see more of?

A: Personally, I don’t think we can ever have enough bakers!  Who doesn’t swoon for a good vegan cupcake?  I’d also love to see more artists and clothing designers.  If we could get a vegan winter coat designer on the team, I’d never have to shop anywhere else!

Q: Do you think awareness of Etsy as a market for vegan goods is growing? What about the market for vegan products overall?

A: Veganism overall seems to be “catching on.”  Whether this is due to a growing understanding of global problems, a trend trickling down from Hollywood, or a little of both, the overall effect is still beneficial for the earth, the animals, and basically everything.

Surprisingly, as popular as Etsy is as an online marketplace, there doesn’t seem to be much awareness of the plethora of vegan products available there.  Some problems are caused by those few unfortunate sellers who label non-vegan products as vegan; this is often just due to misinformation and can be corrected by contacting the seller, but I fear that it turns vegans off from shopping on Etsy.  So I’m here to tell vegans everywhere: the Vegan Etsy Team is here for you!  Our sellers and their products are bona fide, confirmed vegan, and you can feel good about shopping with us.  As an added bonus, many of our sellers donate some or all of their profits to animal-related causes.  It’s win-win!

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